Marriage Defenders

With Justice for ALL (quote from the pledge of allegience U.S.A.)

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No Fault Divorce and Covenant Marriage

"No fault divorce: an ingenious way for married men to gain their sexual freedom while leaving their ex-wives in poverty and loneliness." - Irving Kristol

Since the 1970's, traditional marriage has not been recognized in the United States. If you define marriage as it has been defined traditionally in Western Civilization -- that is; a union between one man and one woman in a lifelong, binding commitment that cannot be ended except through a spouse's death or the fault of one of the spouses by violating specific vows. The sweeping betrayal of traditional marriage contracts lead to all 50 states enacting no-fault divorce statutes, leaving people who entered into their marriages under binding contractual terms without adequate legal enforcement of their contract. No-fault divorce allows either side to bail out of their marriage at short notice, for any reason. Many people got married under a clearly established contract, supported by generations of common law traditions, that they mistakenly believed had the backing of society and the government. In fact those who hold up marriage as the only socially approved sexual relationship do so because the union is supposed to be contractually binding and has the protective and enforcement support of government, the church and society. No-fault divorce has betrayed all of that. If moralists denounce adultery as an immoral betrayal of marriage, how much worse is the betrayal of all people's marriages by the government and society? If some traditionalists condemn pre-marital sexation and seek to coerce couples into state licensed marriage, they are coercing couples into an immoral bargain where they surrender control of the terms of their union to the state who declares their marital vows to be worthless.

One of the reasons marriage is institutionalized and sanctioned by government is to protect women and children. No-fault divorce has had the effect of disproportionately harming women by allowing husbands to abandon their wives whenever they get tired of them or decide they no longer want to be burdened with family responsibilities. This has been a disaster for the institution of marriage, the family and has greatly harmed children. No-fault divorce takes away from women one of the primary reasons for marriage, to protect women and children by requiring men to promise to stay with, and to support and protect her and their children. This covenant is contracted with a society that promises to protect the mother-child relationship and enforce voluntary obligations, as well as see that spouses who betray their vows or abuse their children are dealt with justly.

No fault divorce has benefited mostly middle aged men who divorce their wives and leave them without support. Some judges are so insulting as to say that the wronged spouse is only due rehabilitation alimony, which is most insulting to women who choose to stay home and take care of their family as if being a housewife is some sort of delinquency from which she has to be rehabilitated.

In 1997, Louisiana became the only state to allow couples the choice of an alternative "covenant" marriage contract that's more binding than the standard "no-fault" union. Under Louisiana's covenant marriage, before a covenant couple gets married they have to submit to counseling, and if they want to end their marriage they have to submit to counseling and be separated two years or show a judge "definite cause", which may include adultery, a felony conviction leading to imprisonment, desertion for a year, or abuse of a spouse or child. It used to be to get a divorce a person had to prove such things as extreme cruelty, chronic drunkenness, desertion, permanent insanity, or a felony conviction. Until the 1940s South Carolina had no divorce law at all.

The irreconcilable problem is the one size, or even two sizes, fits all marriage institution offered by the state. Some couples may prefer the looser tie, but others want a more binding commitment, after all that's what marriage is supposed to be. But still, other couples may prefer other terms for their relationship. The current system deprives people of the freedom to choose what best fits them. I mean, what if the state claimed a monopoly on designing houses and only offered people one or two varieties of homes? Would the number of architectural home styles grow only with successful lobbying to get the bureaucrats to design a new style once in a while? What about personal tastes and comfort? Why can't people design their own personal relationships under their own contract or pick and choose from many pre-designed varieties already on the market? This would open up a whole new industry for lawyers who could write pre-designed marriage or other personal relationship contracts or work with couples to custom design their own. At least couples who take marriage seriously and want their vows enforced would have that option.

"What happens to marriage when we declare that these investments will not be protected?" asks David Wagner, a writer with Insight and former director of legal policy at the Family Research Council. "The same thing that would happen to business if we were to declare that, henceforth, business contracts will not be enforced."

Walter Olson said(1) that "some religious denominations have announced plans to encourage or require the stronger contract for members in good standing." But he also warned that, "the whole effort may prove beside the point if covenanters who change their minds can simply hop the border and file for divorce in another state whose laws do not recognize a covenant option; under current practice, most states would probably apply their own no-fault laws, even at the cost of ignoring the couple's original intent."

Which effectively nullifies Louisiana's covenant marriage. The betrayal of marriage by the United States effectively prevents anyone in this country from being able to enforce their marriage contract.
Private contractual marriage allows couples at least the choice of traditional covenant marriage. Some would say that covenant marriage is the only legitimate marriage. Covenant marriage would strengthen families, protect wives and children. If you support family values, believe in legitimate marriage, care about children and respect freedom of choice and the right of people to form voluntary binding contracts you should support the choice of covenant marriage.
You would think that with all of the family values hyperbole coming from the religious right that they would be enthusiastic supporters of covenant marriage. Think again. As it turns out, some influential "pro-family" leaders "have been privately quite cool to the covenant marriage idea", said Walter Olson. The conservative media has also failed to jump on the bandwagon. They're not so sure this is an idea -- traditional marriage -- that they want to support. Columnist Maggie Gallagher, who wrote The Abolition of Marriage (1996) a pro-traditional marriage book, is "very enthusiastic" about covenant marriage, but confirms that many pro-family activists responded negatively to the idea in "conversations behind the scenes."
Walter Olson(1) reported: "Some have privately said that any step that would explicitly "redefine marriage" -- even in a traditionalist direction is dangerous, because it opens the door to the idea of further redefining it by an act of will. And especially sinister, it seems, is this business of redefining marriage by providing the parties a choice, thus encouraging them to think their obligations might be shapeable in part by mutual will rather than by prescriptive authority alone. Once you let in the notion of choice, it's being warned, you start "privatizing marriage,". Olson says, "the principle of free contract, powerful though it may be as a solvent, works even better as an adhesive."

Once again the conservatives prove their hypocrisy in betraying the family, marriage and individual freedom to side with the socialist state.

by Gregory Flanagan

1 - Free To Commit - by Walter Olson

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